Weather in Writing

It’s a snowy day here in Japan, only the second time this year it’s snowed a significant amount.  Probably the last, too.  The normally sunny winter has become a very cloudy and snowy one, and that creates a completely different atmosphere outside.  Weather can set the mood in books, too.

Starting a book with the line, “It was a dark and stormy night,” is quite cliche now, but when it was originally written, it probably set the mood. It’s an important part of any novel that involves outdoor settings.  But do we really need an ominous and dark day to be stormy?  Can’t we have a frightening scene on a beautiful sunny day? I’m sure we can.

In world-building, we create new worlds which will also require weather and climate.  For Ariadne, I created an entire planet with a variety of climates around the world.  There are four main continents.  The southern continent is mostly a polar climate with a colder temperate region, as well.  The largest continent extends from the far north to the far south and has everything including arctic, temperate, alpine, desert, humid rainforest, and so on.

The other two continents are smaller.  The northern one is mostly temperate and arctic, but also has a warmer region.  The equatorial continent is mostly tropical.

On Ariadne, the weather will help me create the atmosphere for different regions as I explore the world.  The original colony will be a warm, subtropical grassland with a risk of cyclonic storms.  The second colony will be in a tropical rainforest with plenty of rain. I’m excited to make this world come alive.

If you write, do you pay attention to the weather a lot?  And when you read, do you imagine the weather as its described, or is it often forgotten?  Leave a comment!

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10 thoughts on “Weather in Writing”

      1. I have yet to write where they weren’t in space 90% of the time. On a ship or space station. In one story though I’m thinking of making it rain on the station 🙂 My characters are out in the elements so rarely, I never focused on the weather. If it needs to be dark or cold or wet for the story, then that is what I roll with.

            1. That is a good thing though. It is what sci fi readers typically want. What good is it to read or watch sci fi without all the strange environments, tech, and aliens?

            2. The aliens. That’s one thing I really need to work on. Although the animals of my world aren’t a focus, they will have to appear from time to time.

  1. I don’t think weather has to set the tone anymore because, like you said already, we can have horrific scenes in the middle of the day without relying on the weather, but I do think consistency as far as the season and the region can add a nice note of authenticity. My go-to add-in of weather is usually the wind—whether it’s cool or hot, strong or soft, reacting to the characters or simply blowing by.

    1. Yeah, it’s the authenticity that I feel is the most important thing about weather. I don’t want to use weather to set the mood. It’s the situation and the characters’ actions that set the mood. Weather can affect things, but it’s not a major factor. However, it does help develop a picture in the mind.

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